Rivaldo to help Zim football

HARARE - Budding Zimbabwean football players stand a chance to break into European leagues if the negotiations between the government and Barcelona legend Rivaldo are anything to go by.

Speaking at a press conference yesterday ahead of the scheduled match between the Barcelona legends and the Zimbabwe Warriors next month, Sports minister Makhosini Hlongwane revealed prospects of the Brazilian World Cup winner establishing a football academy in the country while also linking players to some European clubs.

“We have discussed with Rivaldo the prospect of him linking Zimbabwean players into European leagues,” Hlongwane said.

“We also discussed the possibility of Rivaldo and his team working to setup a football academy in Zimbabwe.

“On his part Rivaldo pledged his support of working with us and he is happy to look into the proposals that we have tabled on a one-by-one basis.”

Rivaldo, who was in the country to confirm his availability for next month’s match, concurred with Hlongwane saying: “I am very excited to be here in the country. It’s a big opportunity for the country for a team like Barcelona to come in the country. I like these kind of games.

“I would like to thank the honourable minister for organising this game and for everything that they are doing to make sure it’s possible. The people of this country are very welcoming.

“We were talking (with sports minister) about the challenges and opportunities to develop football in this country and it is very exciting; I love this type of challenges and I am willing to assist.

“I am very happy to collaborate with the people of Zimbabwe. I hope the game next month will be successful and after that everything will be easier to think about this project and academies to take Zimbabwean football to another level.

“I am sorry for the short visit but I am hoping to come with my family for the next visit.”

Rayco Garcia, another former Barcelona, player who is working closely with the Sports ministry in organising the match said: “We want to give a chance to the youth working in collaboration with Zifa to develop the talent. Don’t forget that behind all those players we see on television there is history.

“Behind Rivaldo there is a great history of motivation in life. He is a good example coming from poor background but he reached the top life of football.

“So, I want to say to some Zimbabwean youths... it’s possible and this match is going to boost the image of the country internationally.”

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